Famous Samurai Swords

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This page is a partial list of the most famous samurai swords, ordered by name of the owner. Most of those listed belonged to several owners during their history, and are today designated as National Treasures. In addition, note that while a given sword may be identified with a given historical figure, any given figure owned and used multiple swords over the course of their lives.

When a picture is not available, there is an oshigata, a professional drawing showing the details of the blade. Historical accuracy here is sometimes flexible due to the high esteem Japanese often hold for these items. Nicknames always refers to the sword, never to the smith.

A 13th century blade known as Fukuoka Ichimonji Sukezane, by the Kamakura period swordsmith Sukezane. Previously held by the Kii Tokugawa clan; now held at Tokyo National Museum. National Treasure.
  • Jiganemaru (治金丸) - a sword associated with the royal family of the Ryûkyû Kingdom. According to the Kyûyô, it was presented to King Shô Shin by Nakasone Tuyumya of Miyakojima in 1522. The unsigned 15th century blade and the 17th century black lacquered furniture are believed to have been made in Japan; the hilt is wrapped in sharkskin, and the kozuka are decorated with designs of auspicious clouds. Today, held in the Naha City Museum of History.[4]
  • Emperor Meiji's (favorite) sword : made by Ayanokoji Sadatoshi (active 1232). National Treasure. Picture
  • Minamoto no Yorimitsu's sword : made by Hoki Yasutsuna Daidô (active 806 - questioned) nicknamed Dôjigiri Yasutsuna ("Monster-Cutter Yasutsuna"). National Treasure. Picture
  • A blade called Nobeoka Mitsutada, forged around 1220 in Nobeoka, in modern-day Miyazaki prefecture. Long owned by the Naitô family of Nobeoka, it is believed stolen in 1946, and remains listed today on the FBI's National Stolen Art File.[6]
  • Shôtoku Taishi's sword : very early work, date debated. Horimono (carvings) gave it its nickname, "Heishishorin." Picture
  • Tomokirimaru, a sword owned by the man who killed the father of the Soga brothers; in some versions of the story, he obtained this sword by stealing it from their father.[7]
  • The Toyotomi clan sword Nansen, made by the Kamakura period smith Ichimonji. Recovered after the Osaka Campaigns by Tokugawa Ieyasu.


  • Morgan Pitelka. "Art, Agency, and Networks in the Career of Tokugawa Ieyasu." in A Companion to Asian Art and Architecture. Wiley-Blackwell, 2011, 460.
  1. Gallery labels, Naha City Museum of History.
  2. Morgan Pitelka, Spectacular Accumulation, University of Hawaii Press (2016), 89.
  3. "Rai Kunimitsu, Sword Blade," gallery label, LACMA.[1]
  4. Naha City Museum of History, Digital Museum, 2015.
  5. "Terukuni jinja," Shimazu-ke ga hagukunda bunka, Shôkoshûseikan official website.
  6. FBI - NSAF - Nobeoka Mitsutada
  7. Constantine Vaporis, "A Hero for the Masses: The Kabuki Play Sukeroku: Flower of Edo (1713)," in Vaporis (ed.), Voices of Early Modern Japan, Westview Press (2012), 195-196.; James Brandon. Kabuki: Five Classic Plays. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1992. pp49-92.
  8. Pitelka, 81.